Unthinkable Instructions

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“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:11-14

The uncrossable sea roars in front of them, a tyrant growls in their ears, chariots with weapon-wielding soldiers bear down. Defeat is certain for the terrified Israelites. In spite of God miraculously releasing them from the horrors of captivity, they lose courage, even longing to return to their past prison. “God, take us back to the familiar, to whips and hunger, to servitude. Anything’s better than dying here in the desert.”

Any skilled military general would now encourage his troops with rousing speech and strategic battle plans. Later in their journey, God did indeed give detailed military instructions: “Circle the city, blow your trumpets, storm the city.” But now, at the beginning of the long journey, God says the unthinkable: “Don’t be afraid…stand firm…the Lord will fight for you…BE STILL.”

What sea faces you? What tyrant is roaring? What enemies aim their arrows of discouragement, loss, and fear? Before God gives the command to move on, he asks us to be still. Stop long enough to gaze into God’s face. Stop in holy quiet to shut out the roar of the tempter who insidiously murmurs that God isn’t strong enough, isn’t loving enough, that he couldn’t possibly care for insignificant you. Stop long enough to hear God’s sure whisper, “I will fight for you.”

Often it’s only after those moments—or days—of stillness that we hear the next instruction: “Move on.” And when we’ve crossed the uncrossable sea, we, like one of the brave Israelite women will sing, “The Lord is my strength and defense…He is my God and I will praise him…”

Loving Father, you know how impatient I am, too often ready to take matters into my own hands, frequently and frantically asking you to act according to my clock and calendar. Help me be still in the face of your steadfast love.

By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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